STEP 1. Pull Your Testosterone. The first step in evaluating your testosterone status should start with pulling your total testosterone. In my opinion, evey guy should just pull this number periodically, symptoms or not, in order to have a good baseline. As you’ll see below, it’s about $25 now here in the U.S. It is fast, cheap and very important to your health.
One of the things that I have discovered as I have begun to research and monitor my own health is that my physicians – God love ’em – do not always test everything they should test nor monitor as frequently as is necessary. This is nothing against them, of course, as they have limited time and are under obligation to insurance companies and fellow physicians to minimize costs as much as reasonably possible. I know that in my own life I was low testosterone for years before I convinced my PCP to finally pull my T. And it was years after that that anyone pulled my prolactin, estradiol and TSH. These all should have been looked at, but it simply never happened. And I could have probably avoided a great deal of heartache and suffering if I had simply had done these tests myself and shown them the results.
I am NOT suggesting that you become your own doctor, but in the U.S. and many other countries, there is considerable medical freedom and one has the right to monitor one’s health. Think of this: your body and mind are an incredibly complex and highly tuned machine. It makes a combustion engine look like a play toy. Does your doctor really have the time to see if you need a tune up? 99% of the time your doctor is too busy just trying to keep patients alive and semi-functional.
This is the reason that I compiled a list of testosterone labs that pull various hormones for men based on Peak Testosterone Forum posts that I have received over the years. I have also included some commentary about what some of these specialize in and what they can and can/cannot be used for. I am NOT suggesting that you become your own doctor, but in the U.S. and many other countries, there is considerable medical freedom and one has the right to monitor one’s health.
NOTE: There are four states that will not let you pull your own labs. Yes, you read that right. Even if you PAY CASH, you cannot pull your own labs. Now please tell me that America is a free country when many of its citizens cannot even monitor their OWN health when they pay for service with their OWN money.
Think of this: your body and mind is an incredibly complex and highly tuned machine. It makes a combustion engine look like a play toy. Does your doctor really have the time to see if you need a tune up? 99% of the time your doctor is too busy just trying to keep patients alive and semi-functional? Consider my situation:
–I have never had homocysteine pulled by any doctor.
–I have had ferritin pulled only once.
–I have never had any thyroid hormones pulled except TSH and total T4.
–I have had CRP pulled maybe twice.
–I never had LH, FSH or prolactin pulled in my hypogonadal days.
Is my situation unusual? Certainly not. There just aren’t the financial and time resources available for decent testing in the great majority of insurance-backed systems. The bottom line is that you are probably going to have to do some yourself, or perhaps find a doctor or naturopath on a cash basis that can help you do the same.
For all these reasons I compiled a list of testosterone labs that pull various hormones for men based on Peak Testosterone Forum posts that I have received over the years. I have also included some commentary about what some of these specialize in and what they can/cannot be used for. Almost all of these labs are U.S. only, but there are a couple of exceptions as you will see:
CAUTION: I do not have any personal knowledge or affiliation with any of these labs. You must do your own research, i.e. “caveat emptor”.
1. DiscountedLabs.com. If you are looking for the best prices for self-testing with the biggest, most respected lab (Lab Corp) in the country, then Discounted Labs is a good starting point. Nelson Vergel started Discounted Labs, and many of you will recognized his name as one of the most established names in the TRT/HRT community. He sent me an email where he promised to beat anyone else’s prices, and it sure seems to be the case! NOTE: I have used Discounted Labs and had a good experience. Again, one big advantage is that the use Lab Corp, which is the largest lab here in the U.S. (NOTE: Discounted Labs is a site sponsor.)
2 Health Tests Direct. I first found out about this lab company, because one of our longtime posters used them with great success. They were unique for a long time, because they offered not only LabCorp pricing but also Sonora Quest. NOTE: I have used them and had a good experience.
3. Life Extension Foundation. One of the older and more respected supplement companies, LEF is known for its in depth articles and good support staff. One very interesting thing that you can get, through them, a wide variety of lab panels at some of the big labs. They have for example an Inflammation Panel and a Cardiac Panel that I have wanted to get myself that includes many of the key heart disease risk factors such as “Chemistry Profile (Complete metabolic panel with lipids) Complete Blood Count (CBC), C-Reactive Protein (high sensitivity), Fibrinogen, Homocysteine Vitamin D 25-OH.” They also have some more specific blood draws for things like CoQ10, anemia and cortisol. The prices are quite reasonable and, of course, it’s nice to deal with a well-established company. NOTE: I have used them and had a good experience.
One of the panels many men would be interested in is the Male Panel, which includes the “Chemistry panel (complete metabolic panel with lipids), CBC, DHEA-S, DHT, Estradiol, PSA, Pregnenolone, Total and Free Testosterone, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), TSH, Free T3.” So in one shot you’ve got a lot of questions answered dealing with male hormones, especially the ones that can directly impact your sexual health. The cost as of this writing was about $224 for members and $399 for nonmembers where a one year membership cost $75.
NOTE: You’ll want to check out that the above test uses the correct estradiol test for males. If you happen to be low estradiol, then the standard test will often not give you correct results based on what I have seen. Talk to the lab and make sure you are getting the correct test.
Also, they use LabCorp, which is I believe the biggest general lab in the U.S. and most states are available to LEF members. For general information, see these LEF FAQ’s and LEF Blood Test Descriptions.